The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

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  • Mon, Dec 28, 2009 - 11:18pm

    #411
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

[quote=dshields]

let’s see – what is coming next…

1) in 11 months the house will get turned over to the republicans

2) in 2012 obama will go back the chicago

3) in 2012 the senate will be turned over to the republicans

how will these changes effect america ?[/quote]

 

Largely irrelevant really……

By 2012, Mexico will be unable to sell oil to anyone…..  which includes YOU!

By 2012, Venezuela may well be selling China so much oil there won’t be any left for……. YOU!

By 2012 the US$ will be Monopoly money

By 2012 if either the Democrats or the Republicans are still in power, you kiss America goodbye…..

  • Mon, Dec 28, 2009 - 11:32pm

    #412
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24271.htm 

The Economic Crisis Ends; the Political Crisis Begins 

By Shamus Cooke 

December 28, 2009 “Information Clearing House” — First Iceland, then  Ireland, now Greece.  Much of Europe is mired in inescapable debt and bankrupt nations, the result of crashing banks, bank bailouts, and soaring unemployment.  The U.S. and U.K. watch from a distance, knowing their turn is next. 

The European corporate-elite — like their American counterparts — lavished non-stop praise on the “bold yet necessary” decision to bail out the banks; the economy was supposedly saved from “impending collapse.”  But every action has an equal but opposite reaction.  Bailing out the banks saved the butts of dozens of European bankers, but now millions of workers are about to experience a thundering kick in the ass.  

Unbeknownst to most Europeans, the public money that financed the bank bailouts created a massive public debt problem, to be solved by massively slashing public programs that benefit workers and the poor.  This amounts to a blatant transfer of billions — maybe trillions of dollars — in public wealth, away from the majority of citizens toward a parasitic crust of bankers. 

These “tough decisions” should act as warnings to the American working class, since the U.S. corporate-elite, too, has clear-cut plans for who is to pay for their colossal spending spree on bank giveaways and foreign wars (hint: it’s not them).  

The massive amounts of government bonds printed to pay for the global bank bailouts were purchased by global investors (capitalists).  For these vultures, government bonds are an excellent investment when the economy crashes, and gambling on stocks turns sour.  Now, these investors want to be sure that the heavily indebted governments are able to pay up.  And they’re becoming impatient.  

A good peek into the mind of the global investor can be seen in any of the three global “credit ratings agencies” — Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, and Fitch.  These corporations give “grades” to debtors — federal governments, corporations, state and city governments, etc. — based on their “credit worthiness.”  To have one’s grade lowered means that investors should back off and demand higher interest rates on loans, if loans are made at all.  Receiving a “B” instead of an “A” can make the difference between a poor nation being able to build a highway, hospital, or school.  

Recently, Moody’s released their notorious “misery index” — the nations that are most sunken in debt and least able to pay it back, requiring that “special measures” be taken to prove to investors that these governments are able to repay their loans.  The biggest losers of the misery index were not surprises and included the above-mentioned European countries.  However, ranking right behind bankrupt Iceland was the United States: the once-proud super-power is now a debt-ridden carcass, with investor vultures circling overhead.  

Moody’s is warning rich investors to be wary of formerly rich countries defaulting on their loans, i.e., going bankrupt.  Moody’s chief of rating nations’ credit, Pierre Cailleteau, explains why: 

“This is mainly because of the crisis of public finances [bank bailouts plus unemployment] that has beset many rich countries in what Moody’s believes will be the final — and disturbingly long-lasting — stage of the crisis.”  This is what passes for optimism nowadays.  

Moody’s is demanding that less-rich nations like Greece, Ireland, Spain, etc., take immediate actions to make their rich investors happy.  The Washington Post explains Ireland’s situation: 

“More than $4 billion in cuts…will slash salaries for 400,000 government workers while making painful reductions in benefits for such groups as widows and single mothers to the blind and disabled children.” Unemployment benefits were also slashed by as much as 30%.” (December 22, 2009). 

The U.S. and the U.K. need not make immediate cuts, but they must make immediate plans to make major cuts, explains Moody’s spokesmen Cailleteau: 

“…this will be the year [2010] where both the U.S. government and the U.K. government will have to articulate a credible plan to address their problems of large debt.”  

John Chambers of Standard & Poor’s was more blunt: 

“The U.S. government, like the U.K. government, the Greeks and the Irish, is going to need to draw down fiscal stimulus, pare expenditures [make cuts], raise revenues [taxes] and probably take a look at [cuts] in their entitlement programs” — Social Security, Medicare, Education, etc. 

This is not news to President Obama.  While he was extending the Bush bank bailouts, Obama took time to calm the nerves of investors, who saw an exploding debt that would soon need to be dealt with.  That is why Obama pledged to the Washington Post that he would “reform entitlement programs.” (January 16, 2009).   This was to be done after the economy had stabilized. 

It’s almost time.       

The mainstream media will surely go on the offensive to support our corporate-owned President in his assault on the social programs long cherished by the American working class.  We will be told that there are “no other options,” when in fact there are.  

Not only could military spending be reduced by hundreds of billions of dollars per year, but taxes should be raised significantly for the very wealthy.  If the top 1 percent of the richest Americans were taxed at 90 percent, hundreds of millions of Americans would benefit, since public education would be saved, alongside Medicare and Social Security.  

Barack Obama will soon be pursuing a policy that George Bush Jr. would never dare try.  He must be resisted at every step.  American unions should look to Europe for inspiration for how to deal with the coming onslaught: mass demonstrations and united strike action will be the only way to put sufficient pressure on a government enforcing a solidly right-wing corporate agenda.   The political instability that is currently engulfing Europe is soon to be exported to the United States — we must not be caught off-guard.  

The issue of the day is clear:  somebody must be made to pay for the economic crisis.  The corporate-elite is planning to push this burden on to the working class.   The working class must push back.  Unions and community organizations should begin organizing now in anticipation, with demands to tax the rich and corporations, and to save Social Security, Medicare, and public education.   

  • Tue, Dec 29, 2009 - 06:25am

    #413
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

in my opinion, both “on your own” and “damnthematrix” make valid points on the state of the political system in america.  the only difference between the big spending republicans of the recent past and the democrats currently in control of the government is the degree they wish to tax and spend.  i am looking to the “tea party” movement to generate canidates more likely to manage the government in a more reasonable and constitutional manner.  we will see how that goes over the next few years.

what a person earns is their property.  the government in is various forms is taking our property now and they want to take even more.  i pay at least 50% of my income in taxes to various governments (fed, state, and local).   that is crazy and totally out of control.  50+ percent taxation is not what america is about.  america was founded on the principle of equal opportunity, not equal outcome.  a larger and larger percentage of our taxes seem to be targeted to equal outcome things – especially recently.  this is a fundamental mistake and goes against everything america has been all about.  we need to cut taxes across the board and cut government spending in the same manner.  i was particularly interested in Chris’s recent article on carbon emissions and growth.  i have talked about this before on this forum.  energy is directly tied to growth.  the so called alternative forms of energy (wind, solar, etc.) do not amount to squat and will not amount to squat in the next few decades.  we need to be drilling and mining as fast as we can now to try to support our energy use as we work to develop alternative energy sources that work.

  • Wed, Dec 30, 2009 - 11:11pm

    #414
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

OK Two issues,  the tea party movement is largely an astroturf movement.  

Property law has been more undermined by large corporations committing fraud than the government.  Contract law has been decimated in the last decade (or two), and mostly the government has been a corporate sock puppet.  

What people earn has been a laughing stock, as the robber barons steal the last thing the people have – their labor.  

  • Sat, Sep 25, 2010 - 01:36am

    #415
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

Getting to this thread late, but enjoying it. Strabes said, way back in the begining, that the regulations are coming from those who should be regulated.

Yes, the foxes are indeed guarding the hen house.

+1, Strabes

  • Wed, Sep 29, 2010 - 03:56pm

    #416
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

Glad you resurrected this safewrite!

There are alot of predictions on this thread and most date to a good 9 months ago.

Anyone want to review and see how their theories panned out?? 

  • Wed, Sep 29, 2010 - 05:05pm

    #417
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

I’ll repeat what a “third world dictator” said about current events: that our fate and that of the planet is being decided by giant, multinational, globalized corporations. They don’t care about whether a country has a vibrant middle class. They don’t care if a community has clean, affordable drinking water. We are mere “consumers”. You are but one in a herd of consumers. Don’t you find that offensive —- to be referred to as not a human being, but a “consumer.”

The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations

9-27-2010

Every generation or so, a major secular shift takes place that shakes up the existing paradigm. It happens in industry, finance, literature, sports, manufacturing, technology, entertainment, travel, communication, etc.

I would like to discuss the paradigm shift that is occurring in politics.

For a long time, American politics has been defined by a Left/Right dynamic. It was Liberals versus Conservatives on a variety of issues. Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, Tax Cuts vs. More Spending, Pro-War vs Peaceniks, Environmental Protections vs. Economic Growth, Pro-Union vs. Union-Free, Gay Marriage vs. Family Values, School Choice vs. Public Schools, Regulation vs. Free Markets.

The new dynamic, however, has moved past the old Left Right paradigm. We now live in an era defined by increasing Corporate influence and authority over the individual. These two “interest groups” – I can barely suppress snorting derisively over that phrase – have been on a headlong collision course for decades, which came to a head with the financial collapse and bailouts. Where there is massive concentrations of wealth and influence, there will be abuse of power.  The Individual has been supplanted in the political process nearly entirely by corporate money, legislative influence, campaign contributions, even free speech rights.

This may not be a brilliant insight, but it is surely an overlooked one. It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing.

Consider:

• Many of the regulations that govern energy and banking sector were written by Corporations;

• The biggest influence on legislative votes is often Corporate Lobbying;

• Corporate ability to extend copyright far beyond what original protections amounts to a taking of public works for private corporate usage;

• PAC and campaign finance by Corporations has supplanted individual donations to elections;

• The individuals’ right to seek redress in court has been under attack for decades, limiting their options.

• DRM and content protection undercuts the individual’s ability to use purchased content as they see fit;

• Patent protections are continually weakened. Deep pocketed corporations can usurp inventions almost at will;

• The Supreme Court has ruled that Corporations have Free Speech rights equivalent to people; (So much for original intent!)

None of these are Democrat/Republican conflicts, but rather, are corporate vs. individual issues.

For those of you who are stuck in the old Left/Right debate, you are missing the bigger picture. Consider this about the Bailouts: It was a right-winger who bailed out all of the big banks, Fannie Mae, and AIG in the first place; then his left winger successor continued to pour more money into the fire pit.

What difference did the Left/Right dynamic make? Almost none whatsoever.

How about government spending? The past two presidents are regarded as representative of the Left Right paradigm – yet they each spent excessively, sponsored unfunded tax cuts, plowed money into military adventures and ran enormous deficits. Does Left Right really make a difference when it comes to deficits and fiscal responsibility? (Apparently not).

What does it mean when we can no longer distinguish between the actions of the left and the right? If that dynamic no longer accurately distinguishes what occurs, why are so many of our policy debates framed in Left/Right terms?

In many ways, American society is increasingly less married to this dynamic: Party Affiliation continues to fall, approval of Congress is at record lows, and voter participation hovers at very low rates.

There is some pushback already taking place against the concentration of corporate power: Mainstream corporate media has been increasingly replaced with user created content – YouTube and Blogs are increasingly important to news consumers (especially younger users). Independent voters are an increasingly larger share of the US electorate. And I suspect that much of the pushback against the Elizabeth Warren’s concept of a Financial Consumer Protection Agency plays directly into this Corporate vs. Individual fight.

But the battle lines between the two groups have barely been drawn. I expect this fight will define American politics over the next decade.

Keynes vs Hayek? Friedman vs Krugman? Those are the wrong intellectual debates. Its you vs. Tony Hayward, BP CEO, You vs. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO. And you are losing . . .

This short commentary was conceived not to be an exhaustive research, but rather, to stimulate debate. There are many more examples and discussions we can have about this, and I hope readers do so in comments.

But my bottom line is this:  If you see the world in terms of Left & Right, you really aren’t seeing the world at all . . .

 

  • Sun, Oct 03, 2010 - 02:19am

    #418
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

[quote=Damnthematrix]

[quote=dshields]

let’s see – what is coming next…

1) in 11 months the house will get turned over to the republicans

2) in 2012 obama will go back the chicago

3) in 2012 the senate will be turned over to the republicans

how will these changes effect america ?[/quote]

 

Largely irrelevant really……

By 2012, Mexico will be unable to sell oil to anyone…..  which includes YOU!

By 2012, Venezuela may well be selling China so much oil there won’t be any left for……. YOU!

By 2012 the US$ will be Monopoly money

By 2012 if either the Democrats or the Republicans are still in power, you kiss America goodbye…..

[/quote]

well, unless a new monster third party develops very quickly either the repubs or the dems are going to be in power in 2012 and it looks a lot like it is going to be the repubs.  the dems are running from their own voting record and obama as fast as they can.  the only thing i see that even remotely resembles a third party right now is the tea party.  however, the tea party is not really a party.  it is the conscious of the repub party.  the funny part about it is i see references in the media that the tea party is “right wing”.  every time i see that i am amazed.  it is not right wing, it is normal.  how did normal end up being called right wing ?  normal is not right wing.  it is not right wing to take responsibility for yourself and your actions.  it is not right wing to stop crazy spending of the people’s hard earned money by the government(s).  it is not right wing to stop participating in wars all around the world that are none of our business.  it is not right wing to have a economic policy that makes sense and is in the best interesting of the people of america.  being sensible is not right wing.  both political parties have made massive mistakes in the past.  however, when i look at them now i see the dems trying to move to more taxing and spending until they figured out they were going to lose the election and then they started running away from that.  in the mean time i see the tea party (i have never been to a tea party function) pushing the repub party back to fiscal responsibility and political responsibility – back toward normal.  back toward the fundamental concepts as set forth in the constitution.  the constitution served us pretty well for a long time.  what the framers never envisioned was the corporate and political greed that we now have.  that greed, as so well stated by many on this site, is where we went wrong as a nation.  it created the environment where we exported our manufacturing base.  it created the environment in washington where politicians of both parties bend over for big corporations.  it allows the CEO’s of major corporations to get what can only be called obscene compensation.  greed and corruption.  that is the america of now.  it is shameful.  we should be ashamed because it is nobody’s fault but our own.  we elected the politicians.  we allowed them to stay in washington and make all the crazy laws and policies that have put us where we are now.  we did it.  there is nobody else to blame.  we allowed all of it.  part of it is the failure of our educational system.  for many years we have taught people a boat of a crap in the schools and they grew up and voted like they did and now we have what we have.  when the dems (barney frank and many others) were pushing to allow people who should not be getting loans for houses to have loans and have freddie and fannie buy them – we did it.  we elected them and we allowed them to stay.  this site is populated by many highly educated people.  we are the exception.  the vast majority of americans seem to be incredibly ignorant.  they vote based out of ignorance.  they conduct their daily lives in ignorance.  there is a vast sea of ignorance.  just watch tv and check out what programs are popular.  that will tell you a lot.  i find it very difficult to even find stuff on tv to watch.  i end up watching the science channel, fox news, bloomberg, some movies, all the really boring stuff – lol.  not long ago i saw a list of the 10 most popular programs on tv.  i was surprised.  i never even heard of half of them and the other half i had heard of but never watched.  do you realize that the vast majority of americans do not even know what the constitution says ?  they do not have even a small clue to how the markets work ?  they have no idea what the fed is or what it does (or doesn’t do) ?  most people can not even find afghanistan on a map.  it is astounding !  it is amazing !  our cities are sewers.  the last time i was in DC i was amazed to find homeless people sleeping on the mall in boxes and milling about begging the tourists for money.  i drove around DC some looking and a good sized chunk of the city is a huge slum.  i live in NJ and go to newark, trenton, and camdon sometimes.  all three of those places are simply awful.  in huge chunks of philly it is not safe for me to walk down the street.  america has the highest percentage of people in jail of all the civilized nations.  how have we come to this ?  my kid was watching one of those reality cop shows the other day and every single perp was a black person.  how did that happen ?  what happened to the black community on america ?  does al sharpton and jesse jackson really represent the black community ?  i was watching a news show a while back and a news crew was walking down a line of people waiting for welfare and asking them questions.  one woman, about 25 years old, was asked what she was doing and she said she was waiting to talk to somebody about why her money did not come in the mail this month.  the news person asked her where the money came from and she said the government.  they asked her where the government got the money and she said from obama.  he told her the money came from the people of america and she looked shocked.  that is what we are facing as a people.

it is sad.  let’s devise an educational system to dumb people down.  then let’s build a political system to basically enslave them and an economic system to rape the ones that work hard and collect the ones that can’t or don’t into a class of dependency and use them to vote to fuel greed and corruption all the way to the top.  no wonder the entire system is coming apart at the seams.  the tea party is just the regular folks of america crying for a halt in it all.  they are not right wing gun toting bible thumping idiots.  they are just people fed up with where we are and where we are going.  i am sure there are crazies in the tea party just like there are everywhere else.  but fundamentally the tea party just wants the madness to stop.  a few years back there was a woman selling a weight loss system on tv.  her sales motto was “stop the insanity”.  i think that is what the tea party is trying to say.

but alas, as per all the info available on this site, it appears that it is too little to late.  as optimistic as i try to be about it all, the future looks bad.  the economic situation is unsustainable.  the energy situation is unsustainable.  it all looks bad – real bad.  there is a high probability that CM is right and the next 20 years are going to be a lot different than the last 20.  i was turned on to the crash course by a guy where i work (a wall street company).  i sat and watched the entire thing from beginning to end in one sitting.  i pretty much knew all the data but somehow i did not put it all together right.  once the data was put together right a light went off and i got it.

the wealth gap as described at the top of this thread is true.  it has come about for a bunch of reasons.  we have had a collapse in our education system.  government at all levels has been running out of control for decades.  the people were ignorant and asleep at the wheel.  they voted in people that never should have held public office.  regulatory agencies were blind.  ignorance pervades the land and apathy pervades the people.  and now we are where we are.  and bad times are coming and it is nobodys fault but our own.  pretty depressing.

 

  • Sun, Oct 03, 2010 - 10:15am

    #419
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

What has happened to us today did not happen by accident.  Instead, our present situation is the direct and inevitable result of New World Order aka the Federal Reserve designs to control the entire world and to do it with our wealth, military, and resources.  To find more about how they are doing this to us, go to and read:

America is a Cooked Goose at  http://constitutionforum.us/cookedgoose.htm

  • Sun, Oct 03, 2010 - 03:15pm

    #420
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    Re: The Wealth Gap and the Collapse of the U.S.

citizenal – i checked out the link.  nothing new there.  the trade agreements are strange and difficult to explain.  i own a dodge pickup truck (hemi engine) built in mexico.  it was 30,000 dollars.  it is a nice truck.  if it had been built in america it would have cost a lot more.  of course, moving dodge truck manufacturing to mexico (under nafta) destroyed thousands of decent paying jobs in america.  so we have cheap decent trucks that a lot of people can no longer afford to buy.  on the other hand, if we withdraw from nafta (6 months notice) and place a large import duty on them, then we could move truck manufacturing back to america but they would be so expensive that many of the people that used to be able to buy them will not longer be able to.  it is a very tough problem.  it is a result of so called globalization.  if you were a company that made something and any of your competitors moved off shore, your company was in trouble as it would no longer be able to compete.  so you moved off shore.  it was a kind of race to the bottom.  then your entire industry moved off shore to be able to compete.  millions of decent paying jobs were lost as a result.  the middle class was hollowed out.  in order to try to maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to, people started to rely upon debt..  then debt grew.  the same thing happened in the government.  basically, we were postponing the inevitable reduction in our standard of living through debt.  that rose to a pinnacle in the “use your house as an atm” cycle.  when that ran out of steam the collapse started.  the collapse continues.  america is going to experience its reduction in standard living one was or another.

if we had not joined the trade agreements what would have happened ?  the people of america were sold by both political parties that we had to join the trade agreements – that free trade and joining the trade agreements was good for us.  presidents signed them and the senate confirmed them and that was that.  i am an engineer.  i am not an economic expert.  i do know that literally millions of decent paying jobs were exported as a result.  i do not believe that i have ever read a comprehensive analysis of what would happen if we withdrew from the agreements now.  prices of many of the things we now take for granted would sky rocket.  people would completely freak out on that and demand large wage increases to compensate for their lost buying power.  the government would no doubt confiscate the massive amounts of money generated by the new import duties and go on another spending spree.  if we could stop the government spending spree and route the import duties into capitalizing manufacturing in america it might somehow work.  people would need large increases in wages to manage it.  i do not know how that would work.  it could not all be done at once – it would need a gradual process.  it would be a very complicated financial situation.  i am not sure how it would pan out.  maybe some of the finance heads on this site have some insight into how that process would work.  we are in the globalization thing so deep now i am not sure how we get out.  maybe we can not get out.  i am not sure that protectionism in the past has worked out well.  there are many examples of where it has failed.

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